The One I Love

The One I Love opens in a marriage counseling session: there's been some infidelity, and the young couple is trying to work through it, but it isn't going so well. The marriage counselor gives them a pamphlet for a local vacation house and tells them to see if a weekend out of town will help. However, he neglects to warn them about the house's secret, so neither of them are prepared for the shocking discovery that there are alternate versions of them already staying at the house. These alternates aren't simple clones - they're slightly better versions of the original couple, with the male alternate being more attentive and the female alternate being less bitter. At first the presence of these impossible people is alienating, but it doesn't take long for the couple to commit to seeing what they can learn from their mirror images. Will they take what they learn from the ideal version of their spouse and use it to rekindle their love affair? Or will they fall even farther out of love with their spouse once the more perfect version exposes just how flawed the real deal actually is?

Because this movie is a thought experiment as much as it is a narrative story, it's hard to watch it without putting yourself in their shoes. I think my scenario would run like this: the cat would be the one to come up to me and say, "Kirk, we've been fighting non-stop for months now. All of this versus-ing needs to stop." And I'd argue at first, because the Cat Vs. Kirk deal is working out alright for me, but eventually I'd agree to her demands, because she's a persistent little bugger when she wants to be. The ride up to the rental house would be rough because she doesn't trust cars, but it would be worth it once we got there.

Now, I don't think we'd have the same freaked out reaction to meeting our alternate versions that the people in The One I Love have; she takes most new people in stride, and I'm actually kind of excited every time I meet a new cat. Here's how I picture her improved clone: probably more or less the same physically, and probably just as friendly, but she'd be way less of a hunter. It really drives me crazy when I see that she's killed a mouse, because I know that she's going to try to put her mouth in my face at some point, and I know that mouth has been biting into rodent butts. Every time I find evidence of her hunting I just want to shake her and say "would you kiss your mother with that mouth?" (Yes, she would.)

Also, her alternate version is a little more faithful, cause I did just get a text from a neighbor saying that she's been hanging out on their porch of late and they wanted to make sure that she wasn't a stray. But, yeah, her alternate would still be very similar to her, just 20% less of a feral cat and 20% more of a house cat.

If I had to guess what her vision of an alternate me would look like... Well, she seems to like me because I'm warm, and she seems to like the fact that I'll lie still for most of the night, so she doesn't have to change positions that much if she's sleeping on top of me. But I do use the computer too much in her opinion, which drives her crazy because she wants my lap to be available whenever she decides she wants to sit in it. So, basically, my alternate me would be me as I am now, minus 20% of time at my desk, plus 20% of time in bed.

So we'd meet these alternate versions, and maybe we'd decide that we liked the alternates. Or maybe we'd say "you know what, you're right. I shouldn't put feral rodents in my face / spend all that time reading dumb shit on the internet because that's how I got tapeworms twice / ruined my lower back. In the interest of making this work I'm going to stop sleeping at the neighbors / start being in bed more and hopefully that will repair our relationship." And then maybe I'd take the right version of her home and maybe I would take the alternate home; it might be hard to tell who is who if they were wearing the same collar.

Anyway, back to the actual movie. It was genial enough that I don't really want to slam it, but it obviously wasn't super gripping if I was composing cat fan-fiction in my head during the middle act. Basically I would say that if you need a prompt to imagine how you would interact with an ideal version of your spouse / pet it's a good starting point, but if you can have that conversation in your head without any prompting then you're probably fine skipping it.

Winner: Draw

The One I Love on IMDB